Michael Cronnolly
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Michael Cronnolly


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In this recording compiled in Killasser, Michael Cronnolly tells us that he was reared on nineteen acres of farmland, and in adult life he worked for the County Council for thirty-nine years. He recalls the work with the horse and cart and he details the making and maintenance of the roads in the years before the availability of tarmac. He remembers people collecting stones and rocks from their land, which they sold for use on the roads, and he has vivid memories of people breaking up the stones with hammers along the side of the road. Also recalled are his school days when he brought a sod of turf under his arm every day to school and he wore no shoes. He describes the beating with the stick and the torture in school at the time, and is glad to see corporal punishment banished. Clothes at that time were handed down five or six times he recalls, and he shares great detail on life long ago in a time where everything was hand made and every family was self-sufficient. He remembers people buying poitín at weekends for their entertainment, and he recalls making gallons of poitín himself. In this recording he details the complicated process of making the brew. He needed a wooden barrel, pounds of sugar, yeast from the bakery and some stale bread and it took three or four weeks for the sugar to turn to alcohol. He then describes how it was distilled and the fact that the first glass was always offered to the fairies. All of this was done well away from home in a shed. Poitín was also a great cure and it often cured cattle of pneumonia. Michael always had an interest in music and when he was twenty-three he decided to make his own flute which took six months to make. He describes this process in great detail and his use of oak wood from the spoke of a cart. Michael now makes traditional Irish five piece flutes and he says there is a distinctive sound from a wooden flute that is ideally suited to Irish music. Towards the end of the recording Michael plays some lovely tunes on the flute including ‘Old Ballymote’ and ‘Three Lovely Lassies’.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

Sligo Heritage Collection, First Series


160 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

25.23 MB, 22.61 MB, 20.86 MB, 23.00 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



An Instrument Maker

Recorded by:

Joe McGowan